Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

August 17, 2013

Rod Stewart ~ Camouflage

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Style: British, classic rock, soft rock
Label: Warner Brothers
Year: 1984
Home: n/a

Members: Rod Stewart ~ vocals
Jim Cregan, Robin LeMesurier, Michael Landau ~ guitars
Jay Davis ~ bass
Tony Brock ~ drums
Kevin Savigar ~ keyboards
Michael Omartian ~ keyboards/percussion/b. vocals

Additional: Jimmy Zavala ~ harmonica
Gary Herbig ~ saxophone

Guest: Jeff Beck ~ guitar solos

It's almost embarrassing where some musicians have gone to sound as hip & trendy & with it as possible. Sometimes the outcome works, giving the musician a breath of fresh career air they desperately needed to then progress to a proper facelift beyond the initial trial. Career boosts happen every day like this. Other times the albums, or even an era, has been forgotten, tucked away like an embarrassing hobby & its almost shocking to dig them up again. For example, anyone remember the 70's band Blackjack or the hard rocking guitar wailing "Fool's Game" by a leather pants wearing guitar soloing Michael Bolton? While one never mentions a string of less than thrashy albums by Megadeth nor even the quasi-return retooled line-up outing that came afterwards before the band broke up. Camouflage was RS trying to slip into the rock charts with a technique he thought was probably trendy but actually suffers with too many keyboards, electronic drums & weak songs & everything but what made RS great the decade before. Any glory in RS's voice is lost in the shallow over-produced material that draws too much from in the moment trends & not enough from focusing on trying to make an album good for RS regardless of trends. It's a frightening listening that's on par with the forgettable Midnight At The Lost & Found by Meat Loaf ... or maybe the newest Bon Jovi country-rock outing. Sadly, RS would keep this sound/mold up for the following decade with five albums along the same lines & only a little breakthrough with Vegabond Heart before discovering the wonders of going acoustic. This is one of those albums where one encourages a musician to stick with what they did best regardless of trends. It's hard to think RS was enjoying this flat music. Part of the problem is by this time in his career he probably forgot what music rested nicely with his vocal palette. He done too much harm with his "Do You Think I'm Sexy?" disco outing. Not even the cover of the classic rock "All Right Now" by Free & with guest guitarist Jeff Beck do little for the outcome, particularly as decades later the guitar solos over synth backings with sax lines no longer sounds cool ... unless you like the Miami Vice theme played over & over but without the driving rhythm & with unmemorable lyrics. This dry & slick pop rock musical approach may have worked for a few bands, but they didn't have RS's bluesy back catalog to compete with. Here RS is competing against himself & he's not winning any points. The fact that there's only eight songs doesn't help. Check out "Can We Still Be Friends" which is representative of the album & be done with it there. If you like your soft rock 80's synth keep listening. If you like RS you probably won't like this album. But, I must step back as there was one hit off the album "Some Guys Have All The Luck" which is an enjoyable song. There's something good in everything. It ain't much though. All the other good parts of the album have been lost behind the camouflage. Where's RS? I can't see him.

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